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Netjets Volume 4 (2018)

URBAN PRIMER IT’S EASY

URBAN PRIMER IT’S EASY TO UNDERESTIMATE SINGAPORE. MOST PEOPLE DO. THE CITY-STATE’S BLINDING, ALMOST PRETERNATURAL EFFICIENCY GIVES RISE TO ONE OF THE MOST COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS Damian D’Silva THE CHEF ▲ Heaven sent From top: The Orchid sculpture in the Shangri- La gardens; the 9m-tall, fern-covered rock wall at the hotel’s new Tower Wing lobby among global travellers: that Singapore is as sterile and boring as it is business-focused. Its remarkable economic transformation is impossible to deny: half the size of London, the Lion City has gone from a swampy outpost before independence in 1965 to what is now the world’s third-richest nation per capita. And though it remains true that its cultural clout doesn’t measure up to its global peers – the recent struggle to jumpstart the art scene is a source of particular ire to many locals with ambitious hopes – Singapore is undeniably a hyperkinetic destination that is permanently in flux, with more than a fifth of its land created from ongoing reclamation work, and new buildings and projects popping up with disarming regularity. In the past decade alone the city has birthed a raft of iconic, oft-Instagrammed structures around Marina Bay, led by the lotusshaped ArtScience Museum, the engineering marvel Gardens by the Bay and the threetowered Marina Bay Sands, which was the most expensive building in the world when it was completed. DRINK AND BE MERRY A dizzying variety of venues for tipplers have opened in the last 12 months. Hidden behind a secret door, the 12-seat Apothecary (oxwellandco.com), on the third floor of gastropub Oxwell & Co, resembles a medieval pharmacy – think jars of garnishes, scores of medicine drawers – and concocts cocktails with names like Fenicillin and Sailor Painkiller. Drawing on the Art Deco influences of Europe and New York, the cavernous Atlas (atlasbar.sg) oozes glamour and is captained by a barman formerly of The Langham in London. An offshoot of its buzzy At Folklore [which opened in July 2017] we serve Singapore Heritage Cuisine, comprising dishes from the five different ethnic groups — Chinese, Malay, Indian, Peranakan and Eurasian. We have a few favourites ordered by diners like sambal buah keluak fried rice (made with regional black nut), singgang (a fish dish), babi assam (pork with tamarind), ngoh hiang (pork rolls), and kueh kosui (steamed rice cakes with coconut). We create this food because it’s slowly disappearing and I would like for the younger generation to sample dishes from a different era, especially if they have not been exposed to this. Singapore’s food scene is very vibrant and innovative with hundreds of choices offering cuisines from every part of the world. My favourite places to eat outside Singapore are Malaysia and Japan. I wouldn’t say we are obsessed about food like the Japanese are, but today, it’s more about who found the best new hawker or restaurant dish. Social media has impacted food not just here but everywhere in the world. folklore.sg MARC TAN, VRX STUDIOS, © SHANGRI-LA 52 NetJets

E.K.YAP, © APOTHECARY, © BAR ROUGE Shanghai namesake, Bar Rouge (swissotel.com) on the 71st floor of Swissôtel The Stamford, is as memorable for its spellbinding city views as its signature red drinks and seductive décor scheme. A New York-style bar named for a bonny blossom, Catchfly (catchfly.sg) is situated in the basement of the Coriander Leaf Grill restaurant, buttressed by parquet floors, exposed brick walls and an intoxicating, hypnotic golden glow. Equal parts jazz hangout, bar-lounge, and club Lulu’s (lulus.sg) is named for its fictional owner and pulls its inspiration from the opulence and kitsch of the Big Apple. The unused rooftop space at the Bay Hotel has been repurposed as Propeller (bayhotelsingapore.com), with serene views of Sentosa Island and Keppel Harbour. Whisky lovers jubilated at the opening of The Writing Club (thewritingclub.com.sg), an intimate, selfproclaimed whisky library opened by a husbandand-wife team with the ambience of a men’s club and more than 500 bottles of whiskies and spirits lining its handsome shelves. Last but not least – though not new – the signless 28 HongKong Street (28hks.com) and gleaming, sophisticated Manhattan (regenthotels.com) have won numerous awards and should not be missed. ▲ Singapore style The Atlas bar pays homage to the great Art Deco establishments of Europe ▲ Tastes of the city Fenicillin is the toast of the town at cocktail specialist Apothecary, left; a sample of Bar Rouge’s snack menu THE DISH ON DINING Singapore’s cuisine has always been shaped by the myriad cultures arriving on its shores, and the latest additions are no exception. Helmed by its two Singaporean and Taiwanese chefowners, Ards (restaurantards.com) serves inventive contemporary pan-Asian cuisine in a whitewashed shophouse between Chinatown > 53 NetJets

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